The Waffen-SS Feldgendarmerie

Perhaps less well known than the Heer Feldgendarmerie, the Feldgendarmerie of the Waffen-SS was a much smaller unit than its Wehrmacht counterpart, but its roles fulfilled identical purposes. Like the Wehrmacht, the SS Feldgendarme was more than likely a former civil policeman or an experienced combat NCO with around 4 years of service.

Each field division of the Waffen-SS had its own Feldgendarmerie unit. They were used primarily to maintain order, discipline and security within their own lines, and therefore, their areas of responsibility were more restricted than those of the Heer Feldgendarmerie units. The Waffen-SS Feldgendarmerie focused on "taking care of their own", and left most rear-line issues to the Heer Feldgendarmes or "Kettenhunde".

Heer Feldgendarmes came to be called "Kettenhunde" (Chained Dogs.. due to the Gorget that they wore on duty) by the common soldier, who regarded them with fear. Yet the Waffen-SS Feldgendarmerie had a more sinister nickname: "Kopfjaeger" or "Head Hunters". The name was an obvious referral to the SS "Totenkopf" (Death's Head) skull emblem embroidered on the front of their caps. But its deeper meaning lay in its reference to their severe reputation as efficient military policeman and strict enforcers of military law.

Tasks of the Waffen-SS Feldgendarmerie

Traffic control, maintaining military order and discipline, collection and escorting of prisoners of war, collection and redirection of stragglers, prevention of looting, supervision and control of the civilian populace in occupied areas, disarming civilians, checking captured enemy soldiers for documents, maps or other useful information, checking papers of soldiers on leave or in transit, collection of enemy propaganda leaflets and prevention of distribution of such material, searching for shot-down enemy fliers, providing street patrols in occupied areas, prevention of sabotage, control of evacuees during retreats, duties of a security nature in cooperation with the Geheime Feldpolizei (counter espionage, apprehending deserters, border control, anti-partisan duties).

The Feldgendarmerie's authority allowed them to pass through secured areas, roadblocks, guard posts, etc, and to conduct searches of both personnel and property wherever deemed necessary, and in doing so they could commandeer assistance from other military personnel. In the event of dispute, any Feldgendarme held superiority over any other soldier of similar rank from any other branch of service.

The SBG Feldgendarmerie

The SBG Feldgendarmerie consists of approx. 12 members that form two sections between them. These members are responsible for security at events that the SBG attend. They patrol the SBG display and private camping area (essential when the main body of SBG is in the public arena), oversee the movement of vehicles (making sure that the public are kept a safe distance away from moving traffic), manning the SBG recruiting and information stall, dealing with prisoners during re-enactments.